MercyMe enjoys playing in Fresno at the Rock & Worship Roadshow.
The Christian pop-rock band could be having a bad day on tour in another city, but its members enjoy the thought of performing in Fresno.
“We always know the crowd is going to be great in Fresno,” says bass player Nathan Cockran. “There is an excitement there for some reason. I don’t know if it has anything to do with us; there’s something different.”
MercyMe, which has earned eight Dove Awards and many Grammy Award nominations, is headliner for the Roadshow at 7 p.m. March 20 at Save Mart Center. This is the seventh straight year the Roadshow plays in Fresno. Crowds have soared to more than 10,000, mainly spurred by the $10 general admission price at the door and the top bands.
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This year’s lineup also features Crowder, Jamie Grace, Matt Maher, Tedashi, Group 1 Crew, Jon Guerra, I Am They and special speaker Shaun Groves.
MercyMe skipped the Roadshow last year to work on its latest album, “Welcome to the New,” which was released April 8, 2014.
Cochran says some band members “went through some different things” with their faith in the last couple of years, and the objective for the new album was to emphasize the importance of grace in one’s faith. Other band members are vocalist Bart Millard, keyboardist James Bryson, percussionist Robby Shaffer and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul.
“It’s all about grace and identity and doesn’t go any further than that,” Cochran says.
“Welcome to the New” is the eighth studio album for Mercy Me and is a better representation of what the band sounds like live, Cochran says.
“There was a time our albums represented softer than we came across live,” he says. “Now, we come to the point to represent who we are. Our personalities come across.”
For example, the song “Greater” has a strong beat, especially with the lyrics: “Greater is the one living inside of me than he who is living in the world.” It also has received good response from fans.
“That song is probably the best snapshot of the message of the whole record,” Cochran says. “That song has to be the ‘CliffsNotes.’ ”
Cochran says he hopes fans have an enjoyable time at the Roadshow and know “our relationship with Christ is a living thing with us.”
He says, “If some people say, ‘I don’t get it,’ I hope they also walk away, saying, ‘I don’t get this God stuff, but it is real for these guys and I’ll have to figure it out.’
“Hopefully, it inspires people to move into a closer relationship with God.”